When the name Rais M'Bolhi is mentioned to Philadelphia Union fans, they don't immediately recall the shutout the goalkeeper recorded versus Houston on September 20 or the debut he made on August 24 against the San Jose Earthquakes. It is the massive error the Algerian made in a 1-1 tie versus Chicago on October 2 that seems to define his brief tenure with the club. The aftermath of this game was not a good one, as it basically left the Union with no chance to make the MLS Playoffs.
With Zac MacMath gone to Colorado on loan, it will be M'Bohli who leads the charge out of the back this season for the Union behind a bolstered back line following the acquisition of Steven Vitoria, who joined the team on loan from Benfica. M'Bolhi is coming off a quarterfinals appearance in this year's African Cup of Nations. Algeria defeated South Africa and Senegal but lost to Ghana in the group stages, and were eventually eliminated by champions Ivory Coast in the knockout stage.
He also was the starter in net for Algeria in this past summer's World Cup, helping his country qualify for the knockout rounds for the first time ever. Although they lost to Germany in the round of 16, he made 11 saves and was awarded the Man of the Match honor.
With all that out of the way, I believe Rais will be a vital part to any kind of Union success. Last year's gaffe against the Fire aside, M'Bohli was solid for the games he played in and it will be very interesting to see how he performs in a full season in Philly. The general consensus around here is that there is confidence with him in net. What does everyone else think?